Do I need a “Mac”? Help decide

I currently have the following equipment:

  • 2011 MBP - Battery life is down to 40 minutes these days.
  • iPad Pro 12.9” - This is pretty much my daily device
  • iPhone XS Max
  • Synology NAS DS (Older DS216+II) - 58,000 photos and some HDHomeRun DVR.

Recent stories I’ve heard about drive failures from Federico and Stephen Hackett (Drobo) have me worried. We have lost 2 years worth of pictures due to a failure in the past.

  • Using Back Blaze B2 for photos

I feel like I am at the point right now of do I replace the very old 2011 MBP for a used MB, MBP or a 2018 Mac mini?

As mentioned above I use the iPad Pro for most everything. I am editing photos more on Lightroom CC. Plus, the photos for the most part are available on iCloud.

If I choose the Mac Mini route I would use it for HDHomeRun DVR, photo viewing(for my wife) and some attached storage and get rid of the Synology. (Probably)

Please share your opinions.

My opinion is to buy the Mac Mini, maybe keep the Synology for a local backup of the Mini, and replace the 2011 MBP battery, which a pretty easy DIY for that model.

I also do not like that the 2011 is capped at Sierra.

If you don’t use the portability of the MacBook Pro now, then replace with a Mini. If you do, then replace with a newer MacBook Pro.

FWIW I use just regular Backblaze, which backs up one computer and any hard drives directly attached to it. Either a new Mini or a newer MacBook Pro have TB3, which makes it really easy to hang lots of fast storage off of either machine, and have all of it backed up to Backblaze for $6/mo.

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I definitely get that. It sounds like you wouldn’t use it much, though, especially if you bought the mini for your occasional macOS work. 2k is a lot to pay for an up-to-date OS. That said, I love having a relatively recent MBP and I’d have upgraded by now. It’s an essential machine for me.

What do you use the MBP for?
Could you get by with a MacBook Air?
Just the iPad?

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I am running High Sierra on my 2011 MBP. It looks like all 2011 MBPs models can run it.

Mojave, not so much.

That’s that thing. I don’t really use the MBP, but I at least need a way for my wife to easily access photos and do simple edits via Photos on Mac. The Mac mini might be the ticket. I already have a pretty good LG 34” monitor for my at home work PC that can be shared.

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Sorry, yes you are correct. I should have said the 2011 model caps at High Sierra.

I’ll second those who recommend a MacBook Air if you need the laptop form factor or the Mac mini if you don’t.

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I ended up with a refurb 2018 Mac Mini 6core 8GB 256GB. I immediately upgraded it to 16gb ram.

Also using a Macsales Mercury Extreme Pro Mini Dual drive enclosure with two 256 GC drives set to Raid 1.


I agree. My 2011 is working fine but stuck at Sierra. With all keyboard issues replacing it may lead to another unhappy situation. Especially considering the cost. Really leaning to an iMac and replacing my older iPad with the new version.